Some years back -- actually starting before I embarked on a career in the community newspaper business -- I published an occasional tabloid called “Gamecock Fever”… a jovial little journal which was distributed to tailgaters before each USC home football game. (Extraneous Publisher’s Note: I used the word “career” very loosely in the preceding sentence.)
Gamecock Fever was mostly light-hearted and nonsensical, featuring good-natured ribbing at each week’s opponent, as well as opposing school’s coaches, mascot, home state, and the entire population thereof.
Actually, we simply took some standard Arkansas jokes, and rewrote them each week to apply to whatever school we were playing: old standards like, “How do you get an Arkansas graduate off your porch? You pay him for the pizza!”; and, “How do we know the toothbrush was invented in Arkansas? If it was invented anywhere else, it would be called a ‘teethbrush’!”
Anytime we played a school from West Virginia, however, they always seemed to get a little sensitive about these jokes… especially the ones about marrying their cousins.
Each edition of “Fever” also contained a healthy helping of “Clempson” jokes, which I felt was my patriotic duty as an American. Plus, being a lifelong, born and bred resident of the Pimento State, swapping Carolina and Clempson jokes back and forth is a tradition… a way of life! So how could I not poke a little fun at “Moo U.”?
We occasionally even took a good-natured poke at ourselves, and our coaches and athletic directors, because, after all, we were the long-suffering Gamecocks, and it helps to have a good sense of humor when you’re a Gamecock Fan. (Or, as we occasionally, put it, a “Lamecock” Fan!)
Through the years of Coaches Joe, Sparky, Brad, Lou, and that other guy, we were there in the parking lots, keeping them on their toes, and giving the opposing coaches locker room fodder. Except to us, they were Coaches “MoJo Morrison”, “Sparky Wouldn’t”, “Brad FSNot”, and “Loose Boltz”. Along with Athletic Directors “Don King Dixon” and “Mike McGee McGoo”. They were public figures, and it was all in good fun.
But, unfortunately (or fortunately in the opinions of 97.3% of the people who are not me), Gamecock Fever went away a few years ago. The Gamecock Tailgating Tradition Since 1985 (except for one year we forgot) has now slipped our minds for over half a decade!
So ever since the Old Ball Coach showed up at USC, he hasn’t had our little Tailgating Toilet Tissue to bolster his team. The last time Spurrier showed up in Gamecock Fever, he was the head coach of the Gators – the very same Gators who are currently ranked Number One in the Nation, and who are coming into Columbia this weekend to take on the Gamecocks. At that time, we honored him with this limerick:
There once was a ball coach named Spurrier,
Who wanted his team to go hurrier,
So he yelled, whined, and screamed,
Like a girl at his team,
Now his win-loss record is blurrier!
Of course, that was back in the days when he still tossed his visor and won national championships. And he was the enemy. Now he’s on our team. We love the guy. But he’s mellow.
And maybe because Spurrier has mellowed out a little, we, the Gamecocks, seem to be suffering from that old Mid-Season Chicken Curse again -- the cursed roost-ah… just like we used tah. We start off strong, but finish a little weak. And with Numero One FLA on their way to town, things don’t look good.
Probably, it’s a Spurrier thing… but we can’t help wondering: “What if the Gamecocks are sliding back into mediocrity just because we stopped publishing “Gamecock Fever” each week? Could it be our fault?
We can’t take that chance.
So, while I can’t magically produce an entire issue of Gamecock Fever in time for this weekend’s game against the Florida Gators, I can use the remaining space here for a little taste of Fever… and toss a few NCAA College Football insults in their direction before they come clobber our brains out.
It’s Cocks versus Crocs at Williams-Brice… and here is OUR welcome to the visitors:
Q: What do you call a Florida graduate who lives in a $400,000 house?
A: A butler.
Q: What do you call a gorgeous woman on the arm of a Florida fan?
A: A tattoo.
Q: Why do Florida graduates stick their diplomas on their car bumper?
A: So they can park in the handicapped zone.
Q: Did you hear about the Florida student who was a poor speller? He paid $50 to spend the night in a warehouse.
Q: Why do Florida fans spend so much time staring at containers of orange juice?
A: Because the label says “concentrate”.
Q: How many Florida fans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Four. One to change the bulb, and three to stand around talking about how great the old bulb was “back when Spurrier was here!”
Okay, I’ve done my part. Now its up to the players. Go Cocks! Gig the Gators!